A COUNTY campaign to get rid of surplus classroom places saw the end of lessons at a Furness infant school in 2003

The Mail, on Saturday, July 19, noted: "Tears and smiles marked the end of a Barrow school set for closure.

"Priory Grove Infant School in Friars Lane will amalgamate with neighbour Abbotsmead Junior School in Cambridge Street in September.

"Yesterday, Priory Grove's headteacher for the past20 years, Pat Burton, said farewell in an emotional assembly.

"Mrs Burton, 50, is off to Brisbane Park Infant School to fill the hotseat of retiring headteacher Beryl Johnston."

She said: "I've had 20 wonderful years here.

"I can't imagine life without Priory Grove. It will take me the summer holidays to get used to."

The article noted: "A new school, Cambridge Primary School, opens on September 1 under the rule of current Abbotsmead headteacher Linda Dean.

"Infants will remain at Priory Grove until Easter because of building work and staff at the school will keep their jobs."

Mrs Burton said: "The governors are keeping everyone on.

"I know that's the case next year but I don't know what happens after that."

The article noted: "Parents of children from both schools staged a protest in September and raised a petition over the merger."

Mrs Burton said: "Cumbria County Council has to reduce surplus places. I knew that once we were under scrutiny we were at risk."Bay View

Janet Mullen, of Bay View Grove, Barrow, said: "I'm sad to see it go because I was a pupil here 30 years ago.

"It's a waste of a good school."

The process of seeking a reduction on school places was described in The Mail, on June 6 in 2002.

Research pointed to around 15 per cent of primary school places in Barrow being unfilled by 2006.

Priory Grove Infant and Abbotsmead Junior were considered in the reduction plan as they were close together and linked by the same kitchen.

A consultative paper sent to schools said: "The aim of the review is to consider the possibility of the two schools amalgamating in order to establish an all-through primary school.

There had already been infant and junior school amalgamations at Newbarns, North Walney and Ormsgill.